Brace yourselves, Phil Jones might start Manchester United's next game

We should really have seen the last of Phil Jones at Manchester United.

His 45 minute performance at Bramall Lane was predictably calamitous.

Jones is not really good enough for United, and he should have been put out of his misery a long time ago.

Is this the final straw? Don’t bet on it. There is a strong chance Jones starts for United this week.

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images


Low on options

Thursday’s Europa League game in Astana is a dead rubber, with United already qualified.

The match against Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday is a far bigger priority.

That means Harry Maguire for one, must be rested. He should not even make the trip to Kazakhstan.

Victor Lindelöf will probably partner him against Villa, which means he should be rested too.

Marcos Rojo is out injured, which rules him out of the Astana game.

Axel Tuanzebe will likely start as he pushes to get back to full fitness.

A strong performance here might give him a chance of displacing Lindelöf against Villa, but he needs the game time.

And this leaves a centre-back spot against Astana needing to be filled.

It will almost certainly be Phil Jones. And that doesn’t make us feel good.

Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

Any alternatives?

There are a couple of alternatives United could try instead of turning to Jones.

One would be to play Nemanja Matic out of position at centre-back.

This might enable more chances for young players in midfield positions, perhaps a partnership of Dylan Levitt and James Garner.

The other is to play teenager Dishon Bernard, who trained with the first team last week.

It won’t be an easy fixture for the youngster, in freezing conditions in Kazakhstan, but surely he is worth a gamble ahead of Jones at this point.

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